Monday, March 21, 2011

Lesson #36: Liberation Is Having The Audacity To Ask, "Why The Hell Not?"

Not a single thing I have accomplished has taken place without a loud debate inside the chambers of my mind.  The "Can't Committee" in my brain loves to spew out all the reasons why I will never be able to do something I want to do.  It sites numbers and graphs as to why I will never be successful in reaching my goals.  Fortunately, there is a more audacious and stubborn part of my mind that reacts to the Can't Committee by asking, "Why the hell not? Give me one good reason!"

When I first started conceiving of moving to New York from California, the Can't Committee went into overdrive.  It stated, "You can't move, you have no job, no friends, you'll never make it."  My audacious side replied, "Why the hell not?  Who says I can't? What's the worst thing that could happen if I tried? I could fail, fall flat on my face, and come back to California, big whoop."  The Can't Committee also informed me, "You can't write a book! No one would be silly enough to publish it, and even if they did, no one would read it."  Yet Absolutely Should-less is written, published, well read, and from what I hear, very well received.

It takes audacity to stand up and say "no" to the Can't Committee inside of your own head.  After forty years, I have finally gotten better at responding to mine by asking, "Why the hell not?  I'm Damon! Why NOT me?" Asking this question offers a sense of liberation and resolve that helps me do more of the things I love to do, including making this list of 40 Lessons.  It is only getting stronger with age, more solid with experience, and this is one of the many reasons why I am so very grateful to be getting older.

What does your Can't Committee say to you?  Are you ready to challenge it?

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at

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